Sunday, October 18, 2009

the dreaded 3...

Yesterday was a dreary day.

The weather was cold and rainy, the skies dark with no promise of sun. It was windy and nasty outside, the kind of day Winnie-the-Pooh would call 'blustery'.

It was a day that would have been best served to stay in bed, add another layer of blankets and call a movie-pajama day.

Unfortunately, I couldn't do that. I had an obligations to attend to.
The blustery day was fitting for the afternoon schedule...the funeral of a close friends mother.

As many of you might know, my own mother passed away in July. After not missing many of our daily talks, I miss her terribly. So to spend the afternoon celebrating my friends mothers life and hear her daughter Sydney; sons Michael, Kevin and Chris emotionally speak, it was heart wrenching for me to say the least. Silvia's memorial service brought back the fresh memory of my mother's. I would have preferred to be somewhere else.

On the drive home I received word that Cousin Jackie had passed away just an hour before. At age 57.

3 weeks ago Jack went to see his doctor. He had been experiencing some severe back pain. They ran some tests. He left with the notice his body was filled with inoperable cancer. He was told he had 1-2 months to live.

How does this happen?
3 weeks ago he was a vivacious, laughing force of nature and now he's gone?

My best friend Chrissy's dad has also been diagnosed with cancer. Although the doctors prognosis with his treatment is favorable.

But all this death and sickness has me in a melancholy mood. I think that it's the facing your own mortality that troubles me.

I didn't have my daughter until I was 36. About the same age my mother was when she had me. So it's probable that my daughter may be dealing with my death at about the same age that I am now in dealing with my mothers passing.
It worries me.

Will she be ready? Emotionally, financially? Is there anything that I can do now to prepare her?
So many questions. Life old questions.

My dad never really liked celebrating his birthday. I know now it's because he doesn't like to have it broadcast that he's older. It's like tempting fate or the grim reaper.

"Hey! You! Grim! I'm a year older....what'ya think about that, big boy!"

I know now why he was always a little testy around that time of year. The best thing was to just pass him and say, "Hey pop. Happy B-day" and leave it at that. Maybe take him to lunch, buy him a bowl of soup. But don't. Ever. Make a fuss.
He doesn't like that.

Now my brother? He likes to celebrate birth months....

A day isn't enough time to complete the celebration! He used to send me notes reminding me months in advance that the national holiday was approaching. Or buy me a calender for Christmas with his birthday already marked. Along with prior dates....
* save money for Charles's birthday.
* special order Charles's birthday present.
* arrange for ticker tape parade.

You get the picture.

I stopped by the jewelry store on Friday afternoon. I bought a beautiful gold band. I'm having my mothers name engraved on it. That way symbolically be with me at all times. And when I think of her, I can just glance at my hand and she'll be there.

I cried when I ordered it.
Right there in the middle of the store.

Yesterday at the funeral, I cried. For Silvia and for my mom.

On the way home I cried for cousin Jack.

I went to the store and cried in the car on the way home.

My eyeballs are a mess. My tear ducts are being overworked. Maybe it's just me, but I can't take much more of this. There's that superstition that death travels in 3's. On one regard I sure hope that's true. Because I've reached my 3.

Could someone mark off that tally card, please?
I'm in need a little break here...

Perhaps you all join me and make a toast today in honor of our loved ones, past and present?
That would be fabulous.
And quite fitting.

So please accept my apologies for being in a down mood. But let's all lift our glasses and change that shall we?

Let's hope Grim will stay away from our doorsteps for a little while longer.

This post is in memory of my dearest mother.
I love you mom...


  1. I toast with you, tears running down my face. Truth for me: I also miss my mother and my loss is years old; I just never got over it. I love the idea of a gold band to wear always as a symbol of your mom's nearness. I hope things look brighter tomorrow. You've had a lot to deal with.

  2. I hope today brought you new outlooks on dying.
    Its okay to die. Never let your daughter feel that it isnt. Teach her that you will be there in her heart and head with each decision she makes.

    If there is a way for mothers to 'be there'.. all of us will be.

  3. @Janice - Thank you. It's brighter already, just with your toast.

    @ Faerie - You've a good point. I DO know it's 'okay' to die. That's actually a part of life. Everything comes full circle. In fact I'm glad that my mother DID in fact pass away (as hard as that is to say)...because she wouldn't have wanted to continue life the way her stroke left her. But it doesn't lesson my sadness in missing her beautiful smile. I do however feel her beautiful spirit.

    Thank you for your comment. It has true food for thought.


  4. I'm so sorry about Jack. My gosh, you just told me he was sick..

  5. I love the idea of a ring with your mom's name engraved on it. What a wonderful way to remember her. I'm sorry it's been such a rough day with such horrible news.

  6. More reminders that noneof us are guaranteed a tomorrow...we have to appreciate our loved ones now. Don't forget to enjoy each and every day we are given.

  7. I have a ring with the name of a special someone engraved on it. It gives me a small comfort at the times when old memories get to be overwhelming. -hugs- I'm sorry the past few hours haven't been the best for you. But I always told that when something "bad" for lack of a better word happens, something "good" is just around the corner. I hope you find it soon. (:

  8. I'm so sorry that you have so much pain to deal with this week. :( Death is not natural. It is a horrendous aberration and we all fight against it. Rightly so!

    God offers eternal life.
    Christ isn't called 'Savior' for nothing.

  9. None of us has a guarantee for tomorrow. I lost my Mom when she was 45 years old. I was 23. I am 45 years old now. I don't miss her any less today then I did then. I have learned to live with it and I have learned to commune with her silently in private places. Death is very much natural and part of the life cycle. That does not make the loss any less painful. So I offer up a small prayer for your healing and a reminder that her loving an caring presence will always remain.

  10. I think the ring is a fabulous idea, and I think I may steal that idea and have one made in memory of my sister. So sorry about your mother. I can't imagine, and selfishly don't want to. No wise words here, except to just allow yourself the grace to feel it and work through it in your own way.

  11. big, humungo hug, nancy. i think your ring is a beautiful sentiment, by the way.


  12. I say cheers and will partake of this sad toast. This week is the anniversary of a close friend's death. A motorcycle accident took him away from us. Also, my mother's best friend of 38 years just passed from cancer. She was diagnosed and only lived for 6 months after. She left behind a 12 year old daughter and a 20 year old son. Its very hard to learn to not be angry at the world in these times. And why is a question that can never be answered. All I can say is, I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. My heart and prayer go out to you and your loved ones.

  13. I am so very sorry.
    I've joked in comments on your last few posts, how we are living parallel lives, but for better or worse, here is where our roads diverge. Longevity runs in my family on both sides and I have yet to lose anyone close to me. That time is fast approaching I fear when my 3s will come in triplicate.
    Again, I am so sorry, Nancy. For what it's worth, I think the ring idea is a fantastic one... one I may borrow myself one day.
    Stay well.
    Your New Blogosphere Buddy,

  14. Nancy,
    I love the ring idea....what a beautiful way to hold on to your Mom. I myself have had a run with some loss this Uncle died suddently on the two year anniversary of my Beloved Grandmother's death(I cared for her at the end of her life) Sister has a recurrence of breast cancer that she will not be beating this time.....

    I toast to you and all of your people and I toast to all of our bloggy friends' losses as well as to mine.....



  15. Dear Nancy,
    As I write this, I'm lifting a glass of wine in honor of those you love who have passed so recently. The ring is a wonderful way to remember your mom... what a wonderful way to honor her.

  16. I hope that things pick up for you, It's always the darkest before the light.

    It's never any good when those we care about are torn away from us, especially when we least expect it. As long as you hold them close to your heart they will always be with you.

  17. Cheers, Nancy.
    Even though we know that death is a part of life and oftentimes expected and a relief in some ways to the person who is dying, it doesn't diminish missing them so. The gold ring is such a lovely, poignant reminder of the love that can exist between a mother and daughter that never ends--it just gets passed on from mother to child forever through time. Thoughts are with you today.

  18. Yes, lets celebrate is not to get too attached (easier said than done) but if we remind ourselves we are lucky to be here and be thankful for each day, the day goes by a little easier...

    much love and sorry for your recent losses...

  19. Yes, here's a toast to all of our loved ones who have gone before us: my mom and dad, both of my sons, and some dear dear friends. So sorry you're in this mood, but let's raise our glasses together and be grateful that we are still able to cry and mourn and not be all frozen inside...

  20. I wear my late sister's emerald ring. It was her birthstone (May). It reminds me of her, but also reminds me to celebrate each day we have left on this planet. I hope your new ring brings you peace.

  21. What a day for you; you must be on auto pilot right now. I'm sharing in the toast for all those who have lost someone dear to them, including myself. I think the ring is a fantastic idea but the best way for you to honor your mother is to be the best mom you can be for your daughter. Let your mother live through you and in that, her legacy will continue. My grandmother passed about six years ago and I miss her every single day. All 4 ft and 10 inches of her. She was a force to be reckoned with and I am proud to come from her. But I still get tears in my eyes when I think about her. I didn't realize your mom had passed so recently, Nancy. I am very sorry for your loss and your sadness.

  22. So sorry to hear all that.. hope everything will gets better..=)

  23. You have such command of the tone of your writing. I felt as if I was there with you throughout your story. I'm so sorry to hear about your losses. They reminded me of some of my own. Hope tomorrow (well today on your side of the country) is better.

  24. Toasting I can do. To you and yours, Nancy.

  25. Hi Nancy, sad days indeed. Best thoughts are with you, Indigo x

  26. These death facts reveal one thing. Live for moments. Because death may arrive at anytime to anyone.

  27. Take it one day at a time, remember the good times...easy to forget those when you're grieving. The pain never really goes, but you will learn to manage it in time. As long as we hold treasured memories our lost loved ones will always be with us. When it all gets too much, remember to pray.

  28. Aw Nancy. Lifting my coffee cup and joining the toast.

    It hit me the most when my cousin passed away. He was a only a few years older than me. I felt compelled to tell my family and friends that I loved them and still do to this day.

    Celebrate life and it will celebrate you.

    Warmest hugs,

    Clair :)

  29. Your post was so moving, thank you for taking the time to put it up. I hope today and tomorrow are better.


  30. My best friend's mom passed away a few weeks ago and talking to her on the phone ever so often, I can still tell that her broken heart is far from alright. I think it is a lovely idea buying a golden band and engraving your mother's name on it; people need to feel the presence of a loved one even if they're not there at that exact moment. My mom had me when she was 37. We are very close and we take a walk together now every morning. At the end of the day all we have is time and we don't know how much of it we are left with every day. Sending you buckets full of hugs; hope your heart feels better soon.

  31. Oh, sweetie....I'm so sorry. What a terrible time this has been for you!

    The band to celebrate your mother sounds lovely...and even tho it brought tears now, it will make you smile as well. That's the thing about memories, eventually (when it's someone we really love), you only remember the really good stuff.

    May both our moms smile and chat over a cup of coffee...and talk about what wonderful families they've raised!

  32. Oh, what a sad post. I think the ring is a beautiful idea and does indeed symbolise the on-going love you have for your mother and your daughter. As you know the issues you deal with in this post are very close to my heart. Life can feel too tough to manage at times I think, but then somehow there are days when it all doesn't feel so bad. So sorry for all your so very recent losses.

  33. For whatever it's worth, this has helped me in times of grief, and I give it to my patients at those times.

    It's from "Psalm of Life" by Longfellow.

    TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
    Life is but an empty dream !
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
    And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real ! Life is earnest!
    And the grave is not its goal
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
    Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
    Is our destined end or way
    But to act, that each tomorrow
    Find us farther than today.

    In the world's broad field of battle,
    In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
    Be a hero in the strife!

    Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time.

  34. Footnote to everyone - Normally I would respond to each comment left individually, but however...that would really bore you to scroll through that.

    Please know that I DO read each and every comment left. You are all so generous with your thoughts. It's touching. I am so blessed.
    Thank you.

    Dr. Grumpy - I've not read that before (shame on me) and I thank you. That's quite beautiful and fitting.

    Thanks again, my friends!


  35. I'll be honest with you, my mother is living, and as I get older and so does she, i try to imagine a life without her and I can't. Maybe some kids grow up and grow apart from their folks...they have kids of their own, they get busy, move away or whatever, but my mom, I didn't even get to know her until I was older....we were mortal enemies when i was growing, she's my biggest supporter and I finally have the relationship with her I always wished to someday the thought of losing her...well, i'd feel that I didn't have enough time....not enough time to love her the way I always should of, and the way I always needed her to love me....

    I'm so sorry about your mom, and your friend's mom....and your cousin. Death never seems to be a satisfying ending....and we can't stop it, and it's coming for all of us...but I'm not so scared of dying, I'm more scared of surviving in the wake of the loss of someone I love.

    Loving people is the scariest thing you can do...when you think about losing them, but I don't want to miss out on a moment of love, out of a fear. Loss is inevitable...but love is enduring.

    my thoughts are with you,
    *hands you a tissue, let it out dear, and then dry them eyes*

  36. My thoughts are with you. Cheers to your mom and mine!

  37. Can you believe I came, I commented, and I didn't even notice my designation as follower of note up in the corner? (Until you had to hit me over the head to get me to notice.) That you would think of me during a time like this is very special. Thank you!

  38. Honey I love this post.

    Holding my glass!

  39. Nancy, I'm so sorry for all of the loss you've experienced lately. Death is such a scary thing and it's so confusing and awful when it touches someone close to us. I can't bear to think of when my own parents pass.

    I'll raise a glass in memory of your mother and cousin tonight!

  40. Sorry to hear about your loss. I know it is never easy.

    To your mother, to Sylvia, to Jack.

  41. I'm totally NOT a poet...but I did this poem a day thing...and this was one of my poems (my dad died after a 2 year battle with cancer...he was one of my favorite people):


    surrender your heart
    soul soaring
    to higher ground

    touch my cheek
    tell me you love me
    one final time

    don't be sad
    it's okay
    close your eyes now

    at last
    has arrived

    and i miss you

    and it sucks

  42. And, this might make you smile?? From an old blog:

    Riding With Dad.

    Just before my dad died he gave me a bike. It is old and it needs paint and the back wheel is a little wobbly...but I LOVE it. is my birthday...and I woke up at 5:30. And for some reason...I had an urge to ride my bike...which I haven't ridden since I got it. I wanted to get up at that very minute & ride it. And guess what...that's what I did.

    And then I was my dad...calling me to say...Happy Birthday Sis.

    I got up and bundled-which is a little extreme for IL-and I could hear my dad saying, Hell Sis it took you longer to get dressed then it will to ride that bike to town & back.

    So...I put some air in the tires...and Dad and I rode around town. I could hear him being funny because I haven't been on a bike in years...and I was a little crookedly driving. If you keep driving like that sis, maybe you'll run over some little critter & we'll fry him up for breakfast. As the town slept still...before the sun woke up. And I cried.

    This is the best birthday. Thank you dad.

  43. I just lost my mom last month. It has been devastating. It will be a month in a couple of days and sometimes it still does not seem real.

    What though the radiance
    which was once so bright
    Be now for ever taken from my sight,
    Though nothing can bring back the hour
    Of splendour in the grass,
    of glory in the flower,
    We will grieve not, rather find
    Strength in what remains behind;
    In the primal sympathy
    Which having been must ever be;
    In the soothing thoughts that spring
    Out of human suffering;
    In the faith that looks through death,
    In years that bring the philosophic mind.

    -- William Wordsworth

  44. It feels a little morbid to comment, as I tend to avoid thoughts of death and the like. But speaking as a 20 something to parents that waited until their 40’s to conceive I know that they worry about me, and likely ask themselves the same questions that you are asking yourself about your daughter. I do not worry. And part of the reason I don’t is because my Dad too is a bit of a writer, he writes about life and what he thinks. So I know I’ll always be able to rustle him up when the time comes.

    You are a bit of a writer as well.

  45. I am sorry to hear about the sad path your life has taken in the past few months. I lost my father in 2001 and my mother in 2008 ( I am 34). I can promise you that time will heal your broken heart. After a while your tears will be happy ones! You will finally get to a point where you can say, "That's something mom would have said/done" and smile. Also, I am sorry to hear about your husband's diagnosis. Live in the monent. Keep mental pictures of the good things in life. My prayers are with you and your family!

  46. OH, I'm so sorry about your cousin. I guess, as sad as it is, you needed to go thru what you felt at your friend's mother's funeral. I suppose this happens to us more and more from here on in...
    Thanks for the reminder to hold those dear to me close today.

  47. Thank you for this post. My father is gone and thankfully my mom is still with me. I do raise my glass. Your post is beautiful and your family and friend I hope appreciate the words you have put together to honor the loved ones. Your daughter will be fine. As you are fine she will be too . . . she obviously comes from good stock. The ring idea is phenominal ~ I may borrow that idea.

  48. I know how you feel. I buried my parents when I was in my teens. I'm 31 now, and it still hurts to this day. A different hurt mind you, but hurt nevertheless.

    You don’t listen to anyone else’s advice (even mine) you have to grieve in your own way, and at your own pace. There is no manual for how you get over things like this; you just work it out yourself. Gather all your loved ones round you and use them.
    Thinking of you matey.

  49. hey i love your blog its really cool if you want you can check out mine

  50. My glass is raised--thank you for the nudge to remember...

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. Remembered by ring and toast? A good combination.
    It doesn't matter if the people we lose are taken suddenly, or eventually... as we hope for their release, we are still left with the memories of what was, but cannot be again.

  53. Here's to you and to giving thanks to our loved ones, here and beyond, who have made our lives as rich as they can possibly be. - G

  54. I'm new to your blog – rode in with the window-watchers from the "Blogs of Note" posting.

    I never liked celebrating my birthday either. Not before I was 40, and certainly not after.

    But I can tell you for sure it had nothing to do with facing mortality. It had more to do with facing life.

    That's not a commentary on your father – just my strangely awkward way of saying hello ;)

  55. nice writer

    click here

  56. Hi Nancy!

    Please know that I'm sharing a big hug and lots of love with you.

    I lost my mother when I was 5 years old and even to this day when I look at a picture of her...I get emotional.

    Gosh, it seems that so many people I know right now are experiencing the death of a love one. A woman I use to work with passed away a few weeks ago - she was so young.

    You take care, my friend...and know that all of us here in cyberland are supporting you.

    {{{{{{{{ Nancy }}}}}}}}}

  57. My mother died of breast cancer. I was there because I personally took care of her in sickness and until her death. I was with her on her last breath. It was very hurting and I felt myself in a vacuum of unseemly dark space. That was ten years ago.

    Now, death to me is just transition from this not-perfect world to a much higher dimension of true happiness and contentment, where God is there always. I am not afraid anymore (I'm paralytic). There is a way to get there and I have found it. I'm just waiting for that right and perfect time...

    Yes, it's important to be ready with death because we know exactly where we go in the crossroad later. It's now time to decide before it is too late.

  58. It's so hard to lose the ones we love, but it's a great testament to their bonds with us that we miss them so.

    In the past year and a half I've lost my daughter's mother-in-law (my age-- 9 months with leukemia), my husband's younger brother (younger than me, too, 3 months with lung cancer) and we just buried a friend Sunday, a week after a heart attack. There's my three-- hope that's my quota for a while...

    My heart goes out to you-- I really can feel the pain with you. Hugs.

  59. Hi. *hugs*. My mom had me at the same age of 36 as you had your daughter and I think about losing my mom just about everyday. I'm 27 and shes 63 and its getting to that almost scary point where you know in a few years she's going to start slowing down and become old and more grandma like. I remember visiting my grandma when she was older and how different it was when you looked at the age difference and thought about what time does to you. I can't imagine living without my mom around....I start getting all teary eyed just thinking about having to deal with it. I give you big hugs and props for going to that funeral today and for order the bracelet to honor your mom. I think its very sweet. I heard the same thing about death traveling in 3's and for your sake, I hope its true. I'll check off the tally card for you. Keep up the amazing blogs and don't worry, the sun will shine again.

  60. From a VERY new blogger, I found your post and reflections so moving and they resonated very much with me. I miss my Nan and she is with me always.

  61. Sometimes we just HAVE to have a good cry. I am sorry for all the losses you've been experiencing. Doesn't always seem to go that way?

    I think it's just a lovely idea to have a ring with your mom's name on it.

    These hard days, these days when you feel you can hardly get out of bed and face the day, these days when you feel you can't stop crying? They will pass. I promise you. The pain will ease, and eventually you'll remember your loved ones without crying. Or, they'll be tears of joy.

    Believe me, I speak from experience. Take care, my friend.

  62. My heart is with you. I lost my mom 2 years ago and a year later my father in law. My beloved mother was well and enjoying Christmas with us and a month later found out she had Lymphoma and 2 months later - she slipped away. You can read about my lovely 2 months with my mom at my blog:
    I was fortunate to spend 2 glorious months with her until the end, I will cherish that time. I wear a gold signature ring that she wore her entire life, and I too glance down at it when I need to feel her near me. I also worry about my daughter and wonder how she will manage if I am gone, we are very close. God Bless you, and Cheers to our MOMS.

  63. I see the photo right side in your blog, your loving mother. You must miss her very much and she would be very proud of you. The gold band is such a good idea to being in memory of her. I text you The Chinese words
    "加油!" means "cheer up!". God bless you!

  64. Hi. I just discovered your blog and am a now a 'follower' (sounds a bit religious). I invite you to read my post 'Twelve o'clock low' about the uncle I didn't know very well who recently died. I've lost several people close to me and the pain doesn't go away, just gets gentler over time. I'm new to blogger and my blog looks a bit boring just now - still learning how to make it more like eye candy.
    Hope you are alright. You have lovely (apparently very hairy) doggies to cuddle with.
    Raising a martini (pomegranate is my fave),

  65. Sometimes a hug is all that I have to offer and this is the sum of one of those times. ((((((((Nancy)))))))

  66. Just wanted to send you some hugs (((hugs)))


    Christine (kiki)

  67. Don't let grief and worry hold you down. Keep you head up, I know you'll pull through.

  68. My mom died in 1968, I was 15 she was 36.........I stlll miss her!!! Your idea about the gold band is a beautiful idea...wish I had thought of that...

  69. MASTER CRAB!!!!!! >°,,,°< D:...

  70. My husband and I are both raising a glass with you. Just remember to breathe... and take things one step at a time... even if you're only looking at the next five minutes. Just breathe.

  71. Beautiful post... I'm so sorry to hear you lost your mother. And your cousin Jack. I think the ring is a wonderful idea, a lovely gesture.

    Hang in there. It's too early in the day for me to raise my glass, but the next time I pour a glass of wine I'll toast you!

    Biggest hugs,


  72. May you know the preciousness of life, and celebrate every single drop of it, even in the midst of death.

    Huggies to you.

  73. My heart goes out to you and to put it mildly ~ cancer sucks ~ death sucks! The ring sounds perfect ~ I lost my dad almost 9 years ago and I miss him sooo much. Some days I just want to sit with him and have a chat, get a hug, give a hug and be his little girl again. Hang in there ~ I am here if you need me!

  74. Very good article! If you have time, just have a look at!

  75. When I was little, I always felt like life went on forever. Then, once you're grown and you have a life of your own, years go by in the blink of an eye. It's amazing. It's comforting to know that we'll all be together again in the end, though!

    All I have is a mug of hot chocolate in front of me, but it's in the air as we speak. ;)


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